Hearing the voices of young women: interpreting teenage pregnancy narratives individually and collectively.

Middleton, Sue (2010) Hearing the voices of young women: interpreting teenage pregnancy narratives individually and collectively. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

Teenage pregnancy has been the subject of policy development over the lifetime of the current British government. Viewed from an overwhelmingly negative standpoint, young parenthood is recognised as a feature of impoverished communities while policies focus on technical and educational „solutions‟ to reduce the levels of conceptions to under-eighteens in these areas. This thesis aims to explore the processes which lead to early pregnancy and parenthood, informed by a narrative research perspective. Guided by the noted absence in the literature of research that attends to the contextualised experiences of young women who become pregnant, this research was undertaken to listen to the experiences of a small group of young women within individual interviews. The research question asked what the meaning of pregnancy was for young women who had become pregnant at an age considered „early‟. The analysis of qualitative material obtained from two research sites found that childhood experiences and individual adversity were the structuring features of most of the narratives obtained from the young women who had become pregnant. The narratives related to motherhood were interpreted as having a temporal quality, that is to say that the dimension of time was relevant to the behaviour of the young women in that they appeared to be „in a hurry‟ in relation to becoming romantically attached and achieving pregnancy, even where pregnancy was not actively planned or desired at that time. Furthermore, the narratives revealed a highly restorative aspect to pregnancy and motherhood that was connected to overcoming earlier adversity and childhood experiences, where sufficient support was available. In conclusion, these temporal and restorative aspects appear to be in dynamic relation to each other and suggest a meaning for early pregnancy and parenthood for young women that is at odds with current policy directions.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted to Middlesex University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Research Areas:Theses
Law > Social Policy & Administration
ID Code:6616
Deposited On:18 Oct 2010 08:44
Last Modified:06 Feb 2013 12:22

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